My name is Esther Hobson. I studied medicine at Cambridge University and qualified as a doctor at Oxford University in 2006. I am currently a National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Fellow. This has allowed me some time to concentrate on research during my training in neurology and I have been lucky enough to work at SITraN.
How and why did you get into MND research?
I was always been fascinated by how the brain works, how it makes us who we are and how much we still have to learn about it. Caring for people with neurological conditions means being able to combine basic science knowledge and modern technologies whilst all the time thinking about the person and their family as a whole. Looking after patients and their families whose lives have been devastated by MND made me want to try to help make their lives better.
What is it like working in SITraN?
Some days when I walk into SITraN it feels like all the greatest brains in the world are busy working together under one roof. It is exciting to sit beside so many different types of people, from the doctors and nurses with years of experience at the bedside, to the laboratory and IT specialists who understand the intricate details of cells.
Can you briefly describe the research project you are currently working on?
I’m developing a telehealth system, using a handheld computer that patients and their families can use at home to communicate with their MND care team. We are working with Cogent Healthcare Systems and other telehealth specialists within Sheffield University to create a finished product. This has involved working with patients and families to understand what they need and how we can improve their care.
What do you enjoy most about your job as a researcher?
I like being able to think about things in detail and listen to the ideas and thoughts of others who are doing the same.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Having the time I have now to dedicate my work to this project has certainly been fantastic. I’m looking forward to seeing our finished telehealth product and seeing it in action in peoples’ homes.
Who do you admire the most?
Too many people to chose from! All the brilliant researchers here know so much about things that I can’t even comprehend. I also admired my grandmother who managed to qualify as a pharmacist in the 1940s despite being deaf. She was really excited to hear about the work SITraN does.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I seem to mostly spend my time looking for things that I have lost (keys, socks, gloves etc.) and when I’m not doing that I like mountain biking and running and dreaming about sunny, dusty trails and beautiful views!